Ruby Gnome Development With Ubuntu Feisty Fawn

I’ve been a ruby lover for a while, but I haven’t been able to do any free time programming. Last night I found some time and decided to start a little ruby-gnome2 project on my pc at home which runs Ubuntu Feisty Fawn. I was amazed to see that it was not as easy as I’ve grown accustomed to things being with Feisty. To make a long story short, I had to do some dependency chasing, but after the chase was completed I was able to get a fully functional ruby-gnome2 environment up and running before bed time 🙂 Read on for details!

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The Empire State Building Tower Lights

As a New Yorker I take pride in knowing about the city I live in. I don’t know everything of course, and so from time to time I am stricken with this intense desire to figure something out about this great city of mine. The other day while walking around I noticed that the Empire State Building was blue and white, and that there were police everywhere. I joked with my friend that it was a signal that police were going to take over the city 😉 It turns out that it was United Nations day and that blue and white is chosen to represent that (the flag is blue and white if you haven’t noticed). Where did I find that out? I’m glad you asked! Check out the official website of the empire state building and the tower light schedule. There’s also a page dedicated to the history of the tower lights, and a list of the meanings for all of the colors that are displayed throughout the year. I <3 NY! 🙂

Kmail in KDE 3.5.4

What is the deal? I add a new imap account and it doesn’t show up until I close Kmail and then open it again? And then it doesn’t accept even the correct username and password (ok fine that might have been a server issue… maybe) and then I try to just cancel and it won’t go away! If I say cancel, that means cancel! It doesnt mean cancel this little window and then bring me to another annoying window and then bring back the window I just cancelled. Cancel means cancel. It means no more, no mas, I’m giving up, please go away, leave me alone. I didn’t even want to try kmail because last time it decided to download all of my mail and re-upload it, effectfively destroying the date/time stamps on every message in my imap box. This time it gave me a new reason to hate it. I don’t get it… I mean kde is so nice… why does kmail have to suck for me every time?

How to install OpenBSD on an eMac (the hard way)

It’s easy to install OpenBSD on mac hardware the right way. Simply download what you need and follow the install guide. What’s not so easy is installing OpenBSD the wrong way. This guide is intended to help someone who may have gotten anxious and strayed from doing things The Right Way(tm) [see also, The Easy Way(tm)]. It is also a warning. RTFM. Read it twice.
Take notes. Installing OpenBSD can take as little as 20 mins or as much as the rest of your life…. It all depends on how you approach it. This is the rest of your life approach 😉
With all that said, let’s get down to business.

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The Birth Of Hecate (The Wireless Router, Not The Goddess)

After much struggle (see the post entitled “my new wireless router”) I gave birth to a new wireless router. Her name is Hecate, after the Greek Goddess of crossroads, wilderness, ghosts, Wicca, etc. (see the wiki entry). The system board is a Soekris 4801-60. I found a great wireless card and antenna (and pci to pcmcia adapter) at and followed some very helpful tips that I found at this ultradesic site. It took a lot of work, including some case modification.

Here are the parts (click for full size):

Hecate's Parts

As you can see (can you?) I needed a usb to serial adapter because I wanted to use my powerbook to install openbsd onto the soekris. I also needed to get a null modem adapter and a serial cable (DB9 female to female). I spent too much money on the null modem adapter and cable because I went to radio shack instead of ordering from a place on line (I was anxious!).

You can also see that I needed to use a PCI to PCMCIA adapter for my wireless card. This is only because I could not find a well-supported PCI wireless card (supported on openbsd). I also could not use mini-pci because I have a vpn1411 card in there (more on that later – it has some major issues!). The use of this PCI->PCMCIA adpater required some case mods…

Hecate Case Mod From TopCase Mod From Corner

Luckily my stepfather happened to have a hacksaw handy 😉

So with the case all ready, I needed a way to make sure that the metal case bottom did not make contact with the solder from the PCI to PCMCIA adapter card. Wouldn’t want to risk a short! I used wide, clear tape and put a layer on the metal in the area where the board will sit, and to provide support I used a foam ear plug (the kind used to protect your ears from loud noise) that I cut into three pieces:

Ear plug separatorsEar plug separators from corner

I still don’t have a cover for the case yet… I’ll figure something out 😉

Once the modding was done, I used the info from the ultradesic site that I mentioned above, and things went well for the most part. I did run into a problem not mentioned there, namely if you want to use tftp and pxeboot to install openbsd on your soekris, you need to have not only dhcpd and tftpd running, you need to have rarpd running as well. Once I set up rarpd along with dhcpd and the tftp server, all was well.

I’m debating about whether or not to post all of the software configuration stuff that I did – there’s just so much! Everything I did not know I found via google or man pages (openbsd has THE BEST man pages!). So far I have a working dhcpd on my wireless interface, which uses WEP to keep unwanted people out (for now). Dhcpd is also running on 2 of the 10/100 ethernet ports on the box. I have my first ethernet port configured to use dhclient to get an address, so that I can plug my cable modem in there.

Some basic pf config and a bridge interface make this little box the firewall/switch I was looking for. I am still working on it though – the plans are to run bind and squid, to get dns and some caching – hopefully improving my network performance a bit. I also plan to use openvpn to connect my machine with those of my friends. In time… time 🙂

Stay tuned to to see how the project is coming along!